With deep heartache we announce the death of Dr. Dorothy Ann (O’Connor) Smith of Dayton, Ohio, Chaplain Emeritus (National Association of Catholic Chaplains), on October 31, 2021, at the age of 84. Dorothy died peacefully at her home surrounded by her family.
Dorothy was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Frank and Helen (Halter) O’Connor. An only child, she grew up in a family she called “a matriarchy of strong and powerful women.” This up-bringing framed the way she lived and nurtured her family. While raising seven children, she earned her Master of Religion from Athenaeum of Ohio and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary. She was a board certified chaplain and a decades-long member of the Professional Association of Chaplains and the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.
When Dorothy entered the chaplaincy, she realized that she had found a vocation that complemented her calling as a mother of seven and counselor to family, friends and acquaintances. She was a dedicated care provider who worked at Miami Valley Hospital as a chaplain for 23 years, the last seven as Manager of Chaplaincy. Committed to helping others, after retiring from Miami Valley in 2001 she continued a private practice in ministry for almost two decades. She was a heart-healer and nurturer by nature; ministering to the hurting and grieving--while challenging and at times heartbreaking--was so integral to her identity that she continued even after she herself became ill. Known for her kindness and compassion, she welcomed everyone into her home for healing. She was recognized for her work by the United States Catholic Conference and the College of Chaplains and was conferred the title Chaplain Emeritus when she retired. True to her caregiving nature, when given her terminal diagnosis she started helping her family and friends deal with their upcoming loss and their own grieving processes.
Dorothy is predeceased by her ex-husband Robert and survived by her sister-in-law Kathy Hummel and her children: Colleen (Jim Wise) Smith (her favorite); Robert (Mitchell Brown) Smith, Jr. (her undisputed favorite); Eileen (Larry) Jackson (her actual favorite); Kathy (Rod) Ross (her obvious favorite); Michael (Colleen) Smith (her fair-haired favorite); Stephen (Meg) Smith (her secret favorite); and James Edward Castle (Kerrin) Smith (who knows he was her favorite, but don’t tell his siblings). She also is survived by grandchildren George, Trevor, Kara (Andrew), Andy (Sarah), Lauren, Morgan, Kiera (Bill), Brendon, Tyler, Alexis, Nicholas, Elliana, Xavier, Harrison (Megan), Cassie, Raichyl, and Lukas and great grandchildren Isaac, Joshua, Hannah, Robert, James, Tatom, and Reagan and a huge number of friends, all of whom have comforting thoughts and memories that she has given them to help them through this grief.
Dorothy actively loved Jesus, her family, and her friends, and she spent as much time as she could traveling to commune with friends and family across the country and around the world.
Services will be held at St. Peter Catholic Church in Huber Heights on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Dayton at: https://www.hospiceofdayton.org/donations
To view the service via livestream, please click the following link: www.daytonxii.org
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